South County Health Cancer Center is in elite company as one of only 24 accredited cancer programs in the United States to receive the 2018 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. South County Health was recognized based on surveys of Cancer Center patients between January 1--December 31, 2018.
The Outstanding Achievement Award is designed to recognize the outstanding effort and commitment of an entire cancer program -- including both clinical and administrative staff -- for providing high-quality cancer care to patients.
The purpose of the award is to encourage cancer programs to raise the bar on quality cancer care, with the ultimate goal of increasing awareness about high quality, patient-centered care. In addition, the award is intended to:
- Recognize cancer programs that achieve excellence meeting the CoC Standards;
- Motivate other cancer programs to work toward improving their level of quality cancer care;
- Facilitate dialogue between award recipients and health care professionals at other cancer facilities for the purpose of sharing best practices;
- Encourage honorees to serve as quality care resources to other cancer programs.
South County’s cancer program was evaluated on 34 program standards categorized within five cancer program activity areas: program management, clinical services, continuum of care services, patient outcomes, and data quality.
The cancer program was further evaluated on seven commendation standards. To be eligible, all award recipients must have received commendation ratings in all seven commendation standards, in addition to receiving a compliance rating for each of the 27 other standards.
“Our dedication to superlative, comprehensive cancer care is confirmed through the Outstanding Achievement Award,” said Kimberly O’Connell, Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. “Our programs, services, and protocols are all designed with one primary question in mind: will this improve care and benefit our patients?”
The CoC is an organization that monitors comprehensive quality of care to improve survival and quality of life for cancer patients. As a result of the survey, conducted on October 9, 2018, the CoC awarded the Cancer Center a three-year accreditation for complying with the organization’s strict standards, noting seven areas earning commendation.
In his evaluation of the South County Health Cancer Center, Arnold H. Herman, MD, FACS, surveyor for the Commission on Cancer wrote:
“The hospital CEO Lou Giancola has continued strong support for the cancer program and led the transformation of the old ICU into the new Cancer Center which is not only very beautiful but also very functional.
New personnel have been recruited adding to the base of excellent experienced clinicians already here. A surgical oncologist now attends their Cancer Conferences and participates in a Multidisciplinary Clinic when needed. A thoracic surgeon also participates in a similar fashion. What is more remarkable is that these two surgeons are from two other competing hospital systems. New members of the medical oncology staff have infused the program with an increased interest in clinical trials here as well as a more academic atmosphere to the program.
Navigation, survivorship and palliative care are strong and growing. An oncology nutritionist sees all new cancer patients and they have an oncology pharmacist as well.
In 2018, South County has named a new Cancer Committee Chair and Cancer Program Administrator, new to South County Hospital, but very experienced. All the changes I have observed have been effective in strengthening this community cancer program. I anticipate that the next surveyor will find an even larger program in three years.
I could find no deficiencies in the SAR and find they met all seven commendation standards for this survey. Their quality studies included one of the lifetime dose of anthracyclines and one of monitoring cardiac function during and after treatment with cardiotoxic chemotherapy drugs.
This is a best practice that might be applied in all CoC programs, regardless of their size or designation.”